For a short while, Leven Rambin was a “wild child” socialite who you’d be more likely to see in the gossip column than on a movie site. Being the granddaughter of the former president of Texaco will have that effect. But lately, Leven (which means “Life” in Dutch, in case you were wondering) is making a name for herself as an actress, appearing in shows like “CSI: Miami” and “The Sarah Connor Chronicles”, as well as a little film called THE HUNGER GAMES, in which she played the villainous Glimmer. (You also might recognize her from our 2012 list of Up-and-Coming Hotties .)
Most recently, Leven was seen in the surfing drama CHASING MAVERICKS, co-starring Gerard Butler. I had an opportunity to chat with this “it girl” about surfing, her fear of murder and letting Jennifer Lawrence “do whatever she wants” to her. (Okay, that’s slightly out of context, but we’ll roll with it.)
Tell me a little bit about your character in CHASING MAVERICKS, and what was making the movie like?
My character is Kim, and she’s a California surfer girl, kind of a tomboy and just really spirited and outgoing. She was always strong and independent, never a damsel in distress, that’s why she is so appealing to Jay (Johnny Weston).
Can you relate to that kind of character?
I consider myself a tomboy, and it’s nice to not have to play the pretty, prissy girl, which I’m not at all. It was nice to play someone who was very grounded.
Do you surf at all?
I learned to surf for the movie, and I think about it every day, but I don’t do it as much as I would love to. It has become a big part of my life, and it’s something I learned about myself doing this movie; I got to surf everyday for six months. It got to the point where I would just go out by myself and surf. It was the best experience of my life.
Of course, you were also in THE HUNGER GAMES. What was it like participating in what’s one of the biggest phenomenons out there today?
It was really incredible. I don’t think that any of us knew, just being so close to it before it became what it is now. We were just trying to make the best movie we could, whether it was THE HUNGER GAMES or some movie nobody has ever head of. We were all excited to be there, but we didn’t really realize what it was that we were making. I’m so proud of it.
You played a villain in that movie; do you think you would be deadly and brutal if you were in that position?
I don’t know! I’m terrified of death, and of killing people. That’s probably my biggest fear. I would probably let someone kill me so I wouldn’t have to kill anyone.
Whoa! You fear killing somebody more than you fear getting killed?
Yeah, I think so. If it were real, I’d be crying and having an existential breakdown. The truth is, I’m not as tough as I seem. Or as I’d like to be.
If you had to fight Jennifer Lawrence in real life, who do you think would win?
God, that’s a good question. Probably her.
You can say you’d win, it’s fine.
(Laughs) I don’t think I would win, I’d roll over like a Golden Retriever so she could do whatever she wants.
Do you ever Google yourself?
Yeah, definitely I do. It’s interesting to see. Everyone, whether they’re an actor or not, is interested in their own presence. Anyone who says they don’t do it is a liar. (Laughs)
What were some of your favorite movies of the past year?
I loved DJANGO UNCHAINED, absolutely loved it. I loved THE IMPOSSIBLE, I thought Naomi Watts’ performance was heart-shattering, I was so moved by it. I actually loved BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, I would love to see it again. ARGO, of course. But DJANGO and THE IMPOSSIBLE were my favorites.
When you’re not working, what are some of your hobbies, what are the things you like to do?
I am very fond of dogs, I love to work with dogs; I have two dogs, and if my roommate would let me I would get like five hundred of them. I love surfing and the beach and going to the coast with my friends. Just discovering gorgeous places. That’s my alter-ego: a hippie. Maybe in my other life, that’s what I’ll be.
We like to dish out health tips once in a while, so what can you tell us about how you stay in such great shape?
Recently, I discovered I have celiac disease, it’s a gluten intolerance. I never knew, but I’ve always had some health problems. So recently I lost like ten pounds from cutting gluten, that was the best thing ever for me. I recommend it to everyone, I now have so much more energy and even my memory is better. It has been great for me.
Do you prefer going out to a club or spending a quiet night at home?
I’m pretty much fifty-fifty. I really love a night out with my friends, that keeps me going. I’m young, I might as well. Carpe diem. If I’m not going to have fun now, it’s never going to happen. Anytime I get an invitation to go somewhere, I try to do it.
What do you have coming up?
I just made PERCY JACKSON 2, which comes out in August, I’m really excited about that. And I’m doing another movie, which hasn’t been announced yet.
Is it a big secret?
It’s not a big secret, but it’s something I’m really excited about, there are really amazing actors involved and it’s totally different for me.
When I read the announcement, I’m sure I’ll be mad that you didn’t give me the exclusive. But it’s okay.
(Laughs) Call me back then and we’ll deal with it.